Laois 2-12 Limerick 0-9: Gary Walsh hit 1-6 and set up Paul Kingston for a 70th-minute goal as Laois got the John Sugrue reign off to the perfect start with a nine-point victory over Limerick.
The final margin was a little tough on Billy Lee’s side, with the manager’s son Jamie among the stars with four points, including two splendid attempts from play.
Lee was unlucky not to add a goal as his shot rebounded off the butt of the post midway through the second half, though Jim Liston slotted over from the rebound.
The hosts deserved to win though and forced Donal O’Sullivan into two brilliant saves before Walsh finally broke the deadlock.
“The first day out it’s just important to win and that’s it” said a satisfied Sugrue. “Our performance was okay at times and not okay at other times but we’re out the gap and it’s about getting out the gap in the first couple of rounds of this.
“It was a game of chess in the first half. They were soaking up lots of pressure and trying to turn us over. We were probably playing into their hands despite talking about it during the week. We probably didn’t hold through to what we were talking about but then in the second half we probably did.
“At times we lacked composure in the first half. We figured at half-time if we could keep growing the gap a small bit they’d have to come out and play and it would open up in the finish and that’s what it did. We were very stagnant with the ball in the middle of the field in the first half and tended to migrate up with the ball in numbers and it didn’t suit the way we wanted to do it. In the second half we changed it.
“It’s hard. We’re trying to work with them, they’re trying to work with us and there probably is a little of the old style comes back in and we’re trying to get rid of that. The second half showed that we can play a little bit of ball when we get the chance and when we go at it properly.” Walsh’s contribution in the second half stood out but Sugrue was focussing on the collective.
“Gary did the job for us tonight. That’s just the job he got tonight. He might have a different job another night. You have fellas working hard at different facets of the game and to single out Gary is probably slightly unfair to the rest to a slight degree but Gary put on a good show tonight.
“You need pace, you need that dynamic and fellas able to cover high mileage at high pace in this game. Dicey (Danny O’Reilly) put in massive graft tonight, Paul (Kingston) added good pace and good variety to his play as well at times, attacked the line well and put in some good ball as well. For the first night out we’re not gonna complain too much. It probably wasn’t very exciting to watch but we’re over the line.”
John Divilly and Anthony Daly review the opening weekend of the Allianz League:
Scorers for Laois:
G Walsh 1-6(0-4fs); E Lowry 0-3; P Kingston 1-0; D O’Reilly 0-2; A Dowling 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick:
J Lee 0-4(1f); J Liston, S O’Carroll, S McSweeney (f), K Daly, S O’Dea 0-1 each.
G Brody, D Holland, S Nerney, R C Fennell, T Collins, S Attride, F Crowley, J O’Loughlin, D O’Reilly, A Farrell, P Kingston, B Glynn, E Lowry, G Walsh, A Dowling.
Subs for Laois:
C Begley for Attride inj (9), E O’Carroll for Dowling (46), G Dillon for Glynn, N Donoher for Farrell (60), K Lillis for Collins (67), J Farrell for O’Reilly (67).
D O’Sullivan, G Noonan, S O’Dea, B Fanning, T McCarthy, P White, J Liston; D Treacy, C Fahy; G Connolly, P Nash, D Neville; D Daly, P Scanlon, J Lee.
Subs for Limerick:
S O’Carroll for Scanlon (ht), S Doherty for Daly (42), S McSweeney for McCarthy (50), K Daly for Lee (61), C McSweeney for Liston (70+3).
P Maguire (Longford)
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